Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Michael F. Burnett


The primary purpose of this study was to determine potential future research priorities for the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service. The Delphi method of forecasting was determined to be the most appropriate for use in this study. Having a knowledge of, and a current relationship with, the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service (LCES) was the initial criteria for selecting panelists for this study. The final panel consisted of forty LCES personnel. Three rounds of questionnaires were used in this study. The Round 0 questionnaire was open-ended and was used to generate a list of perceived research items most in need of research solutions by the LCES. It generated 165 perceived research items. A compiled list of all the research priorities obtained from Round 0 was included in the Round 1 instrument. The Round 1 questionnaire requested the participants to rate each identified item on a 7-point Likert-type scale. The scale ranged from "1 = Strongly Agree" to "7 = Strongly Disagree.". The Round 2 questionnaire again consisted of the research priorities identified by the Round 0 questionnaire. The Round 2 questionnaire requested the participants to again rate each identified item on the same 7-point Likert-type scale. The group rating (median) from Round 1 was given for each item. Consensus was considered to have been reached on an item if 60% of the respondents fell within one rating above or below the median for that item in Round 2. Consensus was reached on 162 of the 165 research items. The item rated the highest by the panel was: Research to develop an agent evaluation instrument that will give a true picture of the kind of job each individual agent is really doing. The third objective of this study was to determine if a difference existed between state level personnel (n = 22) and field staff (n = 18) in their rating of the research items. The results of the t-tests indicated that there was no significant difference in the responses of state level personnel and field staff in either their overall ratings or their ratings by category in Round 2.